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Mick the Miner
Mick the Miner

Photographs supplied by Diane Watson / Russell Byers

The sculpture commonly known as "Mick the Miner" commemorates the 125th anniversary of the establishment of Cooktown.

On 14 August 1872, William Hann`s exploration party found gold in the bed of the Palmer River. His reports of the find led to the establishment of Cooktown and a rush to the Palmer goldfields. George Dalrymple was dispatched to investigate the feasibility of a port on the Endeavour River. Before receiving his report, the Leichhardt was sent with Government staff and prospective settlers. Dalrymple`s party arrived at the Endeavour River on 24 October 1873.

The Leichhardt steamed into the harbour one day later on 25 October. On board were Archibald Campbell MacMillan an engineer, who was to establish the overland track to the goldfield and seventy nine miners. As an alluvial field the Palmer River reached its peak in 1875. By 1886 it had declined and the fevered rush to mine its rivers, creeks and hills was almost over. Hard rock mining began in January 1876 and the last of the hard rock miners, Sam Elliot, died at his mine in 1986.

Despite the shortness of its reign as `The Queen of the North` the Palmer was an exceedingly rich field. Total production was in excess of 5.5 million pounds sterling ($11m). 94% of this sum was derived from alluvial workings with the remaining six percent coming from reefs.


Address:Esplanade, Cooktown, 4895
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -15.4625
Long: 145.249722
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Sculpture
Monument Theme:Landscape
Artist:Anna Holan
Monument Manufacturer:George Holan (Holan Foundry )


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Saturday 31st October, 1998
Front Inscription

"Off to seek his fortune"

At this spot on the 24th October 1873, the vessel "Leichhardt" discharged its cargo of government officials, miners, horses and supplies for the trek to the Palmer River. This was the start of the famous "Palmer River Goldrush" and the birth of the port of Cooktown. Miners from all around the world, numbering in tens of thousands, quickly followed. The flow of people, supplies and gold through the port, established Cooktown as one of Queensland's most prosperous towns and the State's second busiest port.

This statue represents a typical miner on his way to goldfields in the 1870s , and was commissioned by the Cooktown and District Historical Society to mark the 125th Anniversary of the establishment of Cooktown.

31st October 1998

Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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